Black-Eyed Beans with Gari and Plantains

Our fourth recipe comes from Ghana in West Africa and is pre­sented by The­resa Messerer.

You may well be thin­king that my name has not­hing to do with Africa … but Eric, my partner’s, does. He was born in Togo and grew up in Ghana, and I love his re­cipes and cuisine.

Fufu is wi­t­hout a doubt the dish that is most ty­pical of West Africa. Fufu is a mash made from warm water and cas­sava flour that can be served with a va­riety of sauces. But be­lieve me, mas­hing fufu to make it nice and smooth and get­ting just the right ba­lance bet­ween water and cas­sava flour can be hard work wi­t­hout a bit of know-how. I’ve the­r­e­fore de­cided to show you a dif­fe­rent, but equally de­li­cious dish in­s­tead – beans and gari with ri­pened plantain.

Gari (also spelt “garri”) and beans are pretty much staple foods in West Africa. Gari, ob­tained from cas­sava, is used in a wide va­riety of dif­fe­rent ways: fried, boiled, mashed, grated or ground. When my fri­ends ask me what cas­sava is, I often say that it looks like an Af­rican potato. Cas­sava is also very com­monly found and ex­tre­mely po­pular in places like Brazil, Mau­ri­tius and other parts of Africa.

There must be a thousand va­ria­tions of this dish and va­rious ways of pre­pa­ring it and pep­ping it up with other ingredients.

Here’s my recipe – I hope you enjoy giving it a go too:

  • Por­tions: 4
  • Pre­pa­ra­tion time: 30 minutes
  • Coo­king time: 45–60 minutes
  • 2 cups balck-eyed beans
  • 2 plan­tains (the riper the better)
  • 2 onions
  • 500 ml ve­ge­table oil
  • To taste: gari (cas­sava semolina)
  • salt

Black-eyed beans are cooked in the same way as rice, with plenty of water and a little salt. If the water boils away too quickly, simply add some more. A lot of water is needed to ensure that the beans turn out nice and soft. Simmer the beans for a total of 45–60 mi­nutes (+/-) until they are soft.

While the beans are coo­king, cut the onions into half rings and fry in plenty of ve­ge­table oil. The onions should swim a bit in the oil, which we will be using again later.

Slice the plan­tains and fry in the ve­ge­table oil until golden brown. It best to use a little more oil here too, so that the plan­tains stay nice and moist.

Once ever­y­thing is sizz­ling and cooked th­rough, serve. 

When ser­ving up, Eric is very par­ti­cular about the order of things: First the beans. Then drizzle some onion and some of the oil used to fry the onions over the beans. This gives the gari a nice crispy tex­ture. To finish off the dish, place the plan­tains on top.

Bon ap­pétit!

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